The Sweater Song


I feel like I’m 14 years old again -in the best way possible. If there is a best way possible to feel like you’re 14 years old. Mostly it was completely awkward. Except for the occasional moment of rad -which happens to be what I’m feeling. There are 5 boys downstairs in the parlor (and by boys I mean men…they are all hovering around the age of 30). They’ve been practicing for hours. Getting ready for The Blue Album anniversary show they’re playing this Saturday. The 20th anniversary show. My God. Has it been 20 years? Yes it has. And I feel like I’m 14 again as I listen to them playing The Sweater Song so prolifically. I’m back in 8th grade.

It was Stefanie Bellack’s birthday party and it was at a coffee shop. I think it was the first ever coffee shop in Upstate New York. When I told my mom the birthday party was at a coffee shop she didn’t even understand. “What do you mean… like Dunkin’ Donuts?” I didn’t know what it meant. But it was definitely not Dunkin’ Donuts. That would not have been cool (at least I don’t think so). “But what will you do?” she asked. We would have coffee (I mean, if we wanted to. None of us wanted to. We were 14 and coffee was something our fathers drank after dinner when we just wanted to go back outside and finish that game of sardines…or something. I don’t remember what I was doing when I was 14 but it was definitely not drinking coffee). We would just, you know, hang out at the tables and, like, you know, eat cookies or muffins or something.

IMG_0077sWhen we got to the coffee shop there was a guy set up in the corner with a guitar and a mini amp. He was much older than us. Like, high school. He played music the whole time we were there. It was our own private concert. This was, after all, the first coffee shop in Upstate New York and no one was inside it except for a gaggle of 14 year old girls. This probably made anyone who wanted to come inside turn right around and head for Dunkin’ Donuts.

The guitar guy played a lot of music we didn’t recognize (I realize now he was probably playing all originals and we made his heart break. These stupid 14 year old girls who did nothing but heckle him and ask if he knew any Red Hot Chili Peppers). But then he played The Sweater Song and we LOST it.

Oh. My. God. The Sweater Song guy is here.
Oh. MY. GOD.
He is playing Sweater Song RIGHT NOW.
This song is on the radio, and it’s like, famous.
He’s famous!
There is a famous guy HERE who is on THE RADIO.
And he’s playing that song.
For us.
Right now.

We were convinced that Rivers Cuomo was in the very coffee shop we were in. If you had asked any single one of us who Rivers Cuomo was we would have said he was probably somebody related to the Governor. We had no idea who Rivers Cuomo was. But we knew The Sweater Song. And we knew that THIS GUY wrote it.

Some of the girls were hanging outside in the parking lot of the strip mall where the coffee shop was. “You guys NEED to come inside NOW,” Stefanie told them. But by the time the girls carefully put out the one cigarette they were all sharing so they could re-light it and smoke the rest of it later, the song was over. Stefanie ran up to him and asked him to play it again. (God how horrible we were. I would have walked out right there if I was him. No I wouldn’t have. But I would have lost any shred of self-respect I might have had left. And I would have hoped I was going to get paid really well. Or at all).

IMG_0080sWe bothered him so much (I’m including myself here because I was a part of this unruly group. I was mortified to talk to him though. This sixteen year old man who wrote The Sweater Song). Finally after playing two or three more originals that we complained through, he caved and played The Sweater Song again. Again! I can’t believe he played it again. I’m so ashamed. What did we do to that poor man? He probably went home and learned the whole Weezer catalog. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe he’s in my parlor right now and I don’t even know it.

Oh. My. God.
Rivers Cuomo is in my parlor…

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